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28 April 2010 High-efficiency solar cells based on micro-nano scale structures
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Higher efficiency solar cells are required to reduce solar array mass, stowed volume, and cost for numerous commercial and military applications. Conventional solar cell made of thin-film or crystal-Si (c-Si) or other thin films have limited conversion efficiency of 10 to 20% with the cost of $3-$5/Wp. Current state-of-the-art crystalline multijunction solar cells are ~30 % efficient with the cost of $30 to $40 /Wp. Increasing conversion efficiency of > 30% will enable to reduce the cost < $1/Wp and useful for various power platforms supporting mobile wireless, laptop, tent applications. Solar cell comprises with three dimensional blocks are shown to be higher conversion-efficiency than standard flat-type solar cell. Incorporating nano-scaled blocks in solar cell structures are shown to be increased performances due to (i) increase of the surface area to volume ratio, (ii) brining the junction closer to the carrier generation region which eliminate the carrier recombination , (iii) absorption of all incident photon flux, and (iv) broadening the absorption spectrum. Our activities on next generation high performance solar cells based on micro-nano scaled structures and various material systems will be presented. Details fabrication process of micro-nano scaled solar cell friendly to mass scale manufacturing will be also be described. We have achieved more than 20x optical performance enhancement for the solar cell based on micro-scaled structures, than that of flat-type (standard) solar cell, fabricated on the same Si substrate and same process. Simulation results showed that significant improvement in conversion efficiency more than 30% is possible for even c-Si solar cell based on the micro-nano scaled structures. Key issues and challenges for bringing it to the manufacturing will be discussed.
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Achyut K. Dutta, Robert Olah, Genki Mizuno, Rabi Sengupta, Jin-Hong Park, Priyalal Wijewarnasuriya, and Nibir K. Dhar "High-efficiency solar cells based on micro-nano scale structures", Proc. SPIE 7683, Energy Harvesting and Storage: Materials, Devices, and Applications, 76830O (28 April 2010);

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